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Treat your social anxiety disorder with this gamified smartphone app
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Clinical psychology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Clinical psychology.
Uppsala University.
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2016 (English)Conference paper, Poster (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Aim: Social anxiety disorder (SAD) is a common debilitating mental illness with large negative effects on quality of life and economic productivity. Modern psychotherapy treatments utilizing cognitive–behavioral theory are increasingly delivered over the Internet and more recently using smartphone applications. The Challenger App written natively for the Apple iPhone was developed at the Stockholm University Department of Psychology for the treatment of SAD and uses a number of advanced features not previously seen in past mental health applications; these include real-time location awareness, notifications, anonymous social interaction between users, a high-degree of personalization and use of gamification techniques.

Method: A total of 209 participants with a primary diagnosis of SAD were randomized to one of three groups: 1) Self-help book, 2) Self-help book + the Challenger app, or 3) waitlist. The treatment period lasted 6 weeks. Primary outcome measure was Liebowitz Social Anxiety Scale self- report (LSAS-SR). Also included where the Quality of Life Inventory, Patient Health Questionnaire, and the Generalized Anxiety Disorder-7 (GAD-7). Outcome was analyzed according to the intention to treat principle.

Results: Both treatment groups were superior to the waitlist. On the main outcome measure (LSAS-SR) the effect size for the waitlist was Cohens d=0.14. The group that received the self-help book with the addition of the Challenger app was significantly superior (d=1.0) to just reading the self- help book (d=0.61). Participants requited by way of Newspaper advertisement were more likely to reach high end-state functioning (OR=4.1) and the same was true for participants without prior psychological treatment history as compared with having a previous experience (OR=4.4).

Conclusion: Adding the smartphone app is a cost effective way of improving the outcome when treating SAD with a self-help book.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. P1.03
Keyword [en]
social anxiety disorder, SAD, smartphone app, Challenger, gamification
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-134742OAI: diva2:1037708
The 8th Scientific Meeting of the International Society for Research on Internet Interventions, Seattle, USA, 7-9 April 2016.
Available from: 2016-10-17 Created: 2016-10-17 Last updated: 2016-10-17

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Carlbring, PerMiloff, Alexander
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Clinical psychologyDepartment of Psychology

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